The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass an amendment to a bill on Thursday morning that would have required airlines to rehire pilots who were fired or forced to resign for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the 294 that voted against the amendment, 83 were Republicans. This included Alabama’s own U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and Dale Strong (R-Huntsville).

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham), Alabama’s lone Democrat, also opposed the amendment. Only one Democrat voted in favor of the amendment: U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine).

The bill, HR 3935, introduced by U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), proposed to amend the U.S. Code to “reauthorize and improve the Federal Aviation Administration and other civil aviation programs, and for other purposes.”

The body of the bill includes a prohibition on vaccine and mask mandates on airlines. 

However, the nearly-800-page bill included further provisions, including directions for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to increase air traffic control hiring targets, establish a workforce development program and raise the commercial airline pilot retirement age to 67, among others. 

On Thursday morning, the phrase “83 Republicans” trended on Twitter as conservatives complained about the GOP’s failure to pass the amendment.

Both Strong and Rogers, when contacted by 1819 News for comment, suggested that the amendment would offer undue authority to the FAA, which is currently under the control of the Biden administration. 

"This Amendment proposed to give the Biden FAA new authority to mandate the hiring practice of airlines," Strong explained. "Given that woke Washington bureaucrats are already trying to push their DEI policies on airlines hiring, I am concerned it is a slippery slope that would be abused."

"I cannot support any measure that allows Biden's FAA to meddle in private sector employment decisions," Rogers said.

After voting down the amendment, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill 351 to 69. All members of the Alabama delegation voted in favor of the bill except U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise).

"Americans are tired of growing delays and flight cancellations," said Moore in response to a request for comment by 1819 News. "Prioritizing pronouns over performance will not fix these issues. We need to hire the most qualified people for the job. Several of my House Freedom Caucus colleagues introduced amendments that would have ensured this bill was focused on helping aviation workers rather than climate and diversity initiatives, but unfortunately, those amendments were rejected."

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